Wake County, North Carolina
|Wake County, North Carolina|
Location in the state of North Carolina
North Carolina's location in the U.S.
|Founded||June 4, 1771|
|Named for||Margaret Wake|
857 sq mi (2,220 km²)
832 sq mi (2,155 km²)
25 sq mi (65 km²), 2.95%
1,144/sq mi (442/km²)
|Time zone||Eastern: UTC-5/-4|
Wake County is a county in the US state of North Carolina. As of the 2010 census, the population was 900,993, making it North Carolina's second most populated county. Its county seat is Raleigh, which is also the state capital.
Wake County is part of the Research Triangle metropolitan region, which encompasses the cities of Raleigh and Durham, the towns of Cary and Chapel Hill, and their surrounding suburban areas. The regional name originated after the 1959 creation of the Research Triangle Park, located midway between Raleigh and Durham. The Research Triangle region encompasses the U.S. Census Bureau's Combined Statistical Area (CSA) of Raleigh-Durham-Cary. The estimated population of the Raleigh-Durham-Cary CSA was 1,749,525 at the 2010 census, with the Raleigh-Cary Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) portion at 1,130,490 residents as of April 1, 2010.
Wake County is the 9th fastest growing county in the United States, with the town of Cary and the city of Raleigh being the 8th and 15th fastest growing cities, respectively. It is governed by the Wake County Board of Commissioners.
Wake County was formed in 1771 from parts of Cumberland County, Johnston County, and Orange County. The first courthouse was built at a village originally called Wake Courthouse, now known as Bloomsbury. In 1771, the first elections and court were held, and the first militia units were organized.
During the colonial period of North Carolina, the state capital was New Bern. For several years during and after the Revolutionary War there was no capital, and the General Assembly met in various locations. Fayetteville was the state capital from 1789 to 1793, when Raleigh became the permanent state capital. In 1792, a commission was appointed to select a site to build a permanent state capital. The commission members favored land owned by Colonel John Hinton across the Neuse River, but the night before the final vote the committee adjourned to the home of Joel Lane for an evening of food and spirits. The next day, the vote went in Lane's favor.
Lane named Wake County in honor of Margaret Wake, wife of colonial Governor William Tryon. Raleigh was named after Sir Walter Raleigh and established in 1792 on 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) purchased from Lane. Raleigh had never set foot in North Carolina, but he had sponsored the establishment of the first English colony in North America on North Carolina's Roanoke Island in 1585. The city of Raleigh became both the state capital and the new seat of Wake County.
The Battle at Morrisville Station was fought April 13–15, 1865 in Morrisville, North Carolina during the Carolinas Campaign of the American Civil War. It was the last official battle of the Civil War between the armies of Major General William T. Sherman and General Joseph E. Johnston. General Judson Kilpatrick, commanding officer of the Union cavalry advance, compelled Confederate forces under the command of Generals Wade Hampton III and Joseph Wheeler to withdraw in haste. They had been frantically trying to transport their remaining supplies and wounded by rail westward toward the final Confederate encampment in Greensboro, NC. Kilpatrick used artillery on the heights overlooking Morrisville Station and cavalry charges to push the Confederates out of the small village leaving many needed supplies behind. However, the trains were able to withdraw with wounded from the Battle of Bentonville and the Battle of Averasboro. Later, General Johnston sent a courier to the Federal encampments at Morrisville with a message for Major General Sherman requesting a conference to discuss an armistice. Several days later the two generals met at Bennett Place near Durham on April 17, 1865 to begin discussing the terms of what would become the largest surrender of the war.
In the 20th century, the average per capita income for the county was of $ 54,988, and the median income for a family was of $ 67.149. In the same period, the per capita income decreased from $ 44.472 to $ 31.579 especially for women. About 7.80% of the population was under the national poverty.
Law and government
The county is governed by the Wake County Board of Commissioners, a seven-member board of County Commissioners, elected at large to serve four-year terms. Terms are staggered so that, every two years, three or four Commissioners are up for election. The commissioners enact policies such as establishment of the property tax rate, regulation of land use and zoning outside municipal jurisdictions, and adoption of the annual budget. Commissioners meet on the first and third Mondays of each month.
David Cooke is the County Manager.
Wake County is a member of the regional Triangle J Council of Governments.
While North Carolina is historically a conservative state, Wake County is typically a swing voting area.
Although Democratic presidential candidates have only won the county in four of the last 13 elections (Kennedy in 1960, Johnson in 1964, Clinton in 1992 and Obama in 2008), the races have almost always been close, such as in 1980, when Ronald Reagan won by a landslide nationwide, but by a mere 1% in Wake County. Recently, Republican George W. Bush won the county in 2000 with 53% and defeated John Kerry in 2004 by a slim 51% to 49%. In 2008 Democrat Barack Obama defeated John McCain 56-43%.
Recently, statewide Democrats have fared well here. In the 1998 Senate race, John Edwards won in Wake County, which helped him defeat incumbent Republican Lauch Faircloth. In 2000 Mike Easley won the governor's race here with 55% of the vote. In 2004, Easley won again, winning with 59% to 40% for opponent Patrick Ballantine. Democrat Beverly Perdue won Wake County in the 2008 Governor's election by a 51%–45% margin. Democratic candidate for US Senate Erskine Bowles won the county with 52 percent, despite losing statewide to Richard Burr by the same margin. In 2002, however, Republican Elizabeth Dole defeated Bowles with 55% of the vote here, and won by a large margin statewide. In 2008 Kay Hagan defeated Dole 56-40%.
Democratic voters are mainly located in the city of Raleigh, while Republicans are the majority in the rural areas in the north and western parts of the county. The outskirts of Raleigh, and the cities of Cary and Apex are where most of the swing voters are located.
It is one of the counties in North Carolina which is not required to have election laws approved by the Department of Justice. 40 of the 100 counties in North Carolina must have their election laws reviewed by the Department of Justice due to the Voting Rights Act.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 857 square miles (2,220 km2), of which 832 square miles (2,150 km2) is land and 25 square miles (65 km2), or 2.95%, is water.
Wake County is located in the northeast central region of North Carolina, where the North American Piedmont and Atlantic Coastal Plain regions meet. This area is known as the "fall line" because it marks the elevation inland at which waterfalls begin to appear in creeks and rivers. As a result, most of Wake County features gently rolling hills that slope eastward toward the state's flat coastal plain. Its central Piedmont location situates the county about three hours west of Atlantic Beach, North Carolina, by car and four hours east of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Wake County enjoys a moderate subtropical climate, with moderate temperatures in the spring, fall, and winter. Summers are typically hot with high humidity. Winter highs generally range in the low 50s°F (10 to 13 °C) with lows in the low-to-mid 30s°F (−2 to 2 °C), although an occasional 60 °F (15 °C) or warmer winter day is not uncommon. Spring and fall days usually reach the low-to-mid 70s°F (low 20s°C), with lows at night in the lower 50s°F (10 to 14 °C). Summer daytime highs often reach the upper 80s to low 90s°F (29 to 35 °C). The rainiest months are July and August.
The county, at the National Weather Service in Raleigh, receives on average 7 inches (180 mm) of snow in the winter. Freezing rain and sleet occur most winters, and occasionally the area experiences a major damaging ice storm.
Wake County's unemployment rate is much lower than the national unemployment rate as of July 2010.
Wake County's economy is heavily influenced by the Research Triangle Park (RTP), located between Durham and Raleigh. RTP is the country's largest industrial park and a primary center in the United States for high-tech and biotech research, as well as textile development. The park is home to more than 160 companies employing over 50,000 people. The largest employers in the Park include IBM (11,000 employees), GlaxoSmithKline (6,400 employees), and Cisco Systems (3,400 employees).
Wake County's industrial base includes electrical, medical, electronic and telecommunications equipment; clothing and apparel; food processing; paper products; and pharmaceuticals. The agriculture industry is visible in rural areas of the county, with tobacco, cotton, wheat, soybeans and corn being the most common products grown.
SAS Institute, one of the largest privately held software companies in the world, is located in Cary. Other major companies based in Wake County include RBC Centura, Progress Energy Inc, Dex One, 3Dsolve, Carquest, Bear Rock Foods, Cotton Incorporated, Epic Games, Lord Corporation, Lenovo Group (U.S. headquarters), Tekelec, Red Hat, Golden Corral and Martin Marietta Materials.
In 2007, Forbes magazine listed Raleigh and Cary among the best cities to find jobs in the United States, as well as being the area ranked as the best place for business and careers. Also in 2007, CNN ranked the region has the 3rd best area for job growth, the top region for technology workers, and Bizjournals.com ranked it as the 4th best place for young adult job seekers.
As of the census of 2000, there were 627,846 people, 242,040 households, and 158,778 families residing in the county. The population density was 755 people per square mile (291/km²). There were 258,953 housing units at an average density of 311 per square mile (120/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 72.40% White, 19.72% Black or African American, 0.34% Native American, 3.38% Asian, 0.03% Pacific Islander, 2.48% from other races, and 1.64% from two or more races. 5.41% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.
There were 242,040 households out of which 34.00% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.50% were married couples living together, 9.80% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.40% were non-families. 25.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.10% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.51 and the average family size was 3.06.
In the county the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 10.70% from 18 to 24, 36.50% from 25 to 44, 20.40% from 45 to 64, and 7.40% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 98.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 96.50 males.
The median income for a household in the county was $54,988, and the median income for a family was $67,149. Males had a median income of $44,472 versus $31,579 for females. The per capita income for the county was $27,004. About 4.90% of families and 7.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 8.60% of those under age 18 and 8.90% of those age 65 or over.
Cities and towns
Municipalities, with populations as of the 2010 census. Municipalities in italics overlap county borders, and these population figures reflect only the part of those municipalities that lie within Wake County.
- Chestnut Hills
- Eagle Rock
- Green Level
- Lizard Lick
- McCullers Crossroads
- New Hill
- Riley Hill
- Stony Hill
- Swift Creek
- Willow Spring
The county is divided into twenty townships: Bartons Creek, Buckhorn, Cary, Cedar Fork, Holly Springs, House Creek, Leesville, Little River, Marks Creek, Meredith, Middle Creek, Neuse, New Light, Panther Branch, Raleigh, St. Mary's, St. Matthew's, Swift Creek, Wake Forest, and White Oak.
- Granville County, North Carolina – north
- Franklin County, North Carolina – northeast
- Nash County, North Carolina – east
- Johnston County, North Carolina – southeast
- Harnett County, North Carolina – southwest
- Chatham County, North Carolina – west
- Durham County, North Carolina – northwest
||Durham County||Granville County||Franklin County|
|Chatham County||Nash County|
|Harnett County||Johnston County|
Wake County is home to eight institutions of higher learning. They include Meredith College, North Carolina State University, Campbell University's Norman Adrian Wiggins School of Law, Peace College, Saint Augustine's College, Shaw University, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and Wake Technical Community College.
The State Library of North Carolina is an institution which serves North Carolina libraries, state government employees, genealogists, and the citizens of North Carolina. There are two locations in Raleigh.
Primary and secondary education
Public education in Wake County is administered by the Wake County Public School System, the 18th largest public school district in the country with over 134,000 students. There are 20 high schools, 30 middle schools, 93 elementary schools and 8 specialized schools. In addition, nine charter schools and 31 private schools are located in the county. Wake County is ranked the No. 1 school district in the country for certified teachers.
The Wake County Public Library system operates 20 branches throughout the county. There are 10 facilities in Raleigh. Cary, Morrisville, Apex, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Garner, Wake Forest, Zebulon, Knightale, and Wendell each have one library facility. The Wake County library system keeps books, periodicals and audio books and has recently expanded the selection to include downloadable e-books.
- North Carolina Museum of Art
- North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
- North Carolina Museum of History
- Raleigh City Museum
- Marbles Kid's Museum
- J.C. Raulston Arboretum
- Joel Lane House
- Page-Walker Hotel
- Mordecai House
- North Carolina Railroad Museum
- Pope House Museum
- North Carolina Contemporary Art Museum
The Walnut Creek Amphitheatre hosts major international touring acts. The Progress Energy Center for the Performing Arts complex houses the Raleigh Memorial Auditorium, the Fletcher Opera Theater, the Kennedy Theatre, and the Meymandi Concert Hall. During the North Carolina State Fair, Dorton Arena hosts headline acts. Theater performances are also offered at the Raleigh Little Theatre, Theatre in the Park and Stewart Theater at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. Applause! Cary Youth Theatre, Cary Players Community Theatre, Sertoma Amphiteatre at Bond Park, and Koka Booth Amphitheatre are located in Cary. Other theatre and performing arts locations include The Halle Cultural Arts Center in Apex and Garner Historic Auditorium in Garner. Local colleges and universities add to the options available for viewing live performances.
Wake County is home to several professional arts organizations, including the North Carolina Symphony, the Opera Company of North Carolina, the North Carolina Theatre, and Carolina Ballet.
The North Carolina Museum of Art, occupying a large suburban campus on Blue Ridge Road near the State Fairgrounds, houses one of the premier public art collections between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. In addition to collections of American art, European art and ancient art, the museum recently has hosted major exhibitions featuring Auguste Rodin (in 2000) and Claude Monet (in 2006–07), each attracting more than 200,000 visitors. Unlike most public museums, the North Carolina Museum of Art acquired a large number of the works in its permanent collection through purchases with public funds. The museum's outdoor park is one of the largest such art parks in the country.
The National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes franchise moved to Raleigh in 1999 from their temporary home of Greensboro, after having departed Hartford, Connecticut, in 1997. Their home arena, the PNC Arena, also hosts concerts and other public events. The Hurricanes are the only major league (NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB) professional sports team in North Carolina to have won a championship, winning the Stanley Cup in 2006, over the Edmonton Oilers.
North Carolina State University, which is a member of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I, plays their home basketball games at the PNC Arena and home football games at Carter-Finley Stadium.
Other institutions of higher learning that compete in competitive sports include St. Augustine's College (NCAA Division II, Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA)), Meredith College (NCAA Division III and USA South Athletic Conference), Peace College (NCAA Division III and USA South Athletic Conference), and Shaw University (NCAA Division II, CIAA).
The North Carolina Tigers, an Australian Rules football club in the United States Australian Football League (USAFL) and competing in the Eastern Australian Football League (EAFL), are based in Raleigh.
Wake County is also home to the Carolina Rollergirls, an all-women flat-track roller derby team that is a competing member of the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA). The Carolina Rollergirls compete at the North Carolina State Fairground's Dorton Arena.
The USA Baseball National Training Complex is located in Cary.
Home of the Capital City Steelers 3 time national champions of Pop Warner Football.
Also featured in Raleigh/Durham are the Carolina Phoenix, Women's Professional Tackle Football.
- Air: Raleigh-Durham International Airport (RDU) is located in northwestern Wake county off I-40. The airport offers service to more than 35 domestic and international destinations. The airport currently serves more than 9 million passengers a year.
- Wake County is served by Amtrak with facilities in Raleigh and Cary.
- Local bus: The Triangle Transit Authority operates buses that serve the region and connect to municipal bus systems in Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill.
- Regional Rail – Plans are being made for a light rail system that would be built over the next 10 to 20 years.
- I-40 is the only major Interstate that runs through the county. It offers direct access to RDU, Morrisville, Cary, Raleigh, and Garner. It has two spur routes in Wake County:
- I-440 is the northern portion of the "Beltline" that encircles most of central Raleigh. The southern portion of the Beltline is I-40.
- I-540/NC-540 is a 66-mile (106 km) partially completed loop that currently connects the satellite towns of Knightdale, Cary, Morrisville, Apex, and Holly Springs. The completed portions are called the Northern Wake Expressway (I-540) in northern Wake County and the Western Wake Parkway (Toll NC 540)in western Wake County.
- Major highways that run through Wake County include US 1, US 64, US 264, US 70, and US 401. Other highways include NC 39, NC 42, NC 50, NC 54, NC 55, NC 96, NC 98, NC 231, and NC 540.
The "mountains-to-the-sea" North Carolina Bicycle Route 2 travels through Wake County, as does the Maine-to-Florida U.S. Bicycle Route 1. North Carolina Bicycle Route 5, the "Cape Fear run", connects Apex to the coastal city of Wilmington, North Carolina.
Parks and recreation
Wake County is home to three state parks: Falls Lake State Recreation Area, William B. Umstead State Park, and the Jordan Lake State Recreation Area. Falls Lake Park is located in northern Wake County and contains the 12,000-acre (49 km2) Falls Lake and 26,000 acres (110 km2) of woodlands. Umstead Park is situated between Raleigh and Cary near RDU. Located right off I-40, it is divided into two sections, Crabtree Creek and Reedy Creek, and contains 5,579 acres (22.58 km2) of woodlands. Jordan Lake Park, which is partially located in Wake County near Apex, contains 13,940-acre (56.4 km2) Jordan Lake and 46,768 acres (189.26 km2) of woodlands. This park is known for being home to bald eagles.
County parks and recreation centers
There are 152 county parks, city parks, public swimming and public tennis facilities in Wake County. In addition, there are 53 community centers. Notable parks include Pullen Park and Yates Mill Park. The American Tobacco Trail is a 22-mile (35 km) rail trail project that is located in the Research Triangle Park region. Fifteen miles of the trail is located in Wake County and is open to pedestrians, cyclists, equestrians (in non-urban sections), and other non-motorized users.
Wake County is served by three hospitals, Rex Hospital, WakeMed, and Duke Raleigh Hospital. In addition to WakeMed's primary facility, the hospital also operates seven satellite locations throughout the county. These locations include North Raleigh, Cary, Fuquay-Varina, Zebulon, Wake Forest, Apex, Wake Forest Road, and Brier Creek.
- United States Census Bureau. "2010 Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved August 21, 2011.
- "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
- Christie, Les. "Wake County, North Carolina". CNN. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- "The 258 fastest growing U.S. cities". CNN. June 27, 2007. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- Powell, William. Encyclopedia of North Carolina. University of North Carolina Press. pp. 1172–1173. ISBN 0-8078-3071-2.
- "Commission Facts.". WakeGOV.com. Wake County. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- "Wake County Board of Commissioners & Elected Officials". WakeGOV.com. Wake County. Retrieved January 11, 2012.
- – Wake County Facts & Numbers. Wakegov.com.
- The Research Triangle Park
- The Research Triangle Park
- About SAS | SAS[dead link]
- Clark, Hannah. "By The Numbers: The 25 Best U.S. Cities For Jobs". Forbes.
- "#1 Raleigh NC". Forbes. April 5, 2007.
- "America's best jobs in the hottest markets". CNN. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- "bizjournals: Rank of large metros for young adult job seekers".[dead link]
- "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
- Ehlers, Matt (July 18, 2010). "It's Wake's turn as state's population king". Raleigh, NC: News & Observer. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- "County population totals 2000–2009". Osbm.state.nc.us. Retrieved August 24, 2012.
- American FactFinder North Carolina 2010 Census
- newsobserver.com | Wake school enrollment in top 20[dead link]
- Accolades[dead link]
- – Library Locations. Wakegov.com.
- "Raleigh Attractions". The New York Times. Retrieved May 27, 2010.
- Lemberg, David. (September 2, 2006) ARTSCAPE: Dr. Lawrence Wheeler, Director, North Carolina Museum of Art, 8-25-06. Artscapemedia.com.
- Monet Exhibit Sets New Attendance Record at N.C. Museum of Art. WRAL.com (January 15, 2007).
- North Carolina Museum of Art – The Museum Park[dead link]
- Raleigh-Durham International Airport[dead link]
- Raleigh-Durham International Airport[dead link]
- Panel: Sales Tax Could Pay for Regional Transit. WRAL.com.
- N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation: – Welcome to Falls Lake State Recreation Area. Ncparks.gov.
- N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation: – Welcome to William B. Umstead State Park. Ncparks.gov.
- N.C. Division of Parks and Recreation: Jordan Lake State Recreation Area – Ecology. Ncparks.gov (September 23, 2012).
- – Links. Wakegov.com.
- Locations/Maps. Wakemed.org.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Wake County, North Carolina|
|Wikisource has the text of an 1879 American Cyclopædia article about Wake County, North Carolina.|
- Wake County official website
- Wake County Real Estate Records
- Wake County Public School System
- Wake County Historical Society
- National awards and recognitions
- North Carolina QuickFacts from US census
- Research Triangle Park